The recent race riots in Charlottesville, Va. precipitated by a White Power March by Neo-Nazis and the KKK in an effort to preserve a Confederate Statue has opened up old wounds across the nation, including Prince George’s County. Some 40 years ago, the county was one of the most racially divided in the nation.
It was also the place where presidential candidate George Wallace was shot in Laurel, Md. and anti-busing leader Sue Mills led angry mobs against forced desegregation that led to school buses carrying Black students being pelted with rocks and other debris.
County Executive Rushern Baker along with State Sen. Anthony Muse recently called on Trump’s resignation from office after the violence in Charlottesville. (Courtesy photo)
The county was allegedly home to one of the most racist police departments in the nation and a state’s attorney Bud Marshall, who was known as not being friendly to Blacks. It took the killing of two officers by Terrance Johnson inside a Hyattsville, Md. Police Station to lead to the election of the county’s first Black State’s Attorney Alexander Williams.
“True opportunity comes with economic progress,” said Suitland resident Paul Jones, 27. “We have got to do more to provide for our youth and to help them in areas of vocational and life skills training. Otherwise as Black people — who will always be left behind — and things like Charlottesville will continue to happen because of a perceived notion that we are a drain on society.”
Starting with County Executive Rushern Baker, who called on President Donald Trump to resign, leaders say the events of Charlottesville have renewed calls across the county and state to open up the debate on race and economic equality.
“President Donald J. Trump is unfit to serve the people of our country and should resign effectively immediately,” said Baker, who also is a candidate for Maryland Governor, in a press statement. “His equivocation on the incidents which transpired this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va. is an affront to the promise of this nation, our World War II Veterans, the families of the Charlottesville victims, and every citizen past and present, and his actions have no place in the Oval Office.
“During these times of unnerving, regressive, divisive, heightened rhetoric, Americans of all creeds and colors have traditionally looked to the Presidency as a moral compass to guide our way through the morass and right the ship. Empathizing with the message and mission of organizations linked to a bloody legacy of domestic terrorism, racist attacks, and anti-Semitic violence leaves too many citizens of this great nation with no confidence that their President honors or understands the responsibility of the office, or can assure application of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.”
State Sen. C. Anthony Muse, who is a candidate to replace the term limited Baker as county executive agreed.
“We have come too far to allow racism and anti-Semitism to turn us back to the dark days of our history,” he told the AFRO. “I urge you as fellow citizens to focus on those issues that unite us such as affordable healthcare for all and improving our schools, and I urge you to call out those things that divide us, such as hatred and bigotry. These do not and should not represent us as Americans. We live in a great country where diversity is appreciated and where we strive to live in harmony. This is my wish and hope for people throughout Prince George’s County and throughout the world.”